Feb 232012

Squats, overhead press, and deadlifts. The squats and overhead press are still embarrassingly easy, but the deadlifts are starting to make me work a little, at 125 lbs. Still concerned about my form on those, because I dread a back injury.

Grabbed a sampling of 30g protein bars from the health food store, since I’m now working out hard enough to be hungry more often.

First up, Supreme Protein Peanut Butter & Jelly: not bad, but sickly sweet. Wouldn’t want to eat them often because I can imagine getting sick from them.

And why do these bar makers love peanut butter so much? Tri-o-plex makes at least five varieties, and SP makes three. I HATE peanut butter-flavored things unless it’s actual peanut butter. I really miss the Very Berry Tri-o-plex bars; wish they still made them.

Feb 212012

The weight for squats and bench press is still embarrassingly easy, to the point that instead of 5×5 for bench press, I did 5×10-9-8-7-6. The barbell rows, however, at 80 lbs, are starting to require a little effort.

I still think my form for barbell rows isn’t quite right. I’m trying to keep my back flat while still rowing from the floor to my chest and back, and getting everything coordinated is tricky.

I must have slept at a bad angle last night, because it hurts right over my left shoulder blade when I inhale, though it felt fine when I went to bed.

Feb 102012

Went to the Anytime Fitness near Arbor Lakes. It’s smaller than the Maple Rd. one, but newer and nicer.

Again, the squats and bench press were embarrassingly easy at 55 lbs. and 50 lbs., respectively. The barbell rows were a little harder at 70 lbs., and I was having a hard time rowing all the way to the floor without rounding my back. At first I thought it couldn’t be done without larger diameter plates on the bar, but no, I was just too stiff to squat down far enough. After making some adjustments I managed to reach almost to the floor on the last two sets.

Something tells me that in a few weeks I’m going to miss how easy this is now.

Feb 082012

I started a new workout routine Monday. I’ve fallen so far from my peak of about 18 months ago that I had to get back on the wagon. I was doing so well, then right around Thanksgiving of 2010 all my motivation simply fled, and it’s been downhill ever since. I’ve managed to rein in my weight when it threatened to get out of control, but I’ve lost a ridiculous amount of muscle mass. I’ve made a few false starts, but nothing as regular as I was doing.

Sunday night I was searching for a workout routine, because the one I’d been using from Men’s Fitness was worn out. I’d decided to go back and do the modified DC-style workout a previous trainer had me on that worked pretty well, and I’d gotten as far as planning my workouts and setting them up in a spreadsheet.

I hadn’t written down, and couldn’t find in the old forum I’d used to track my progress, the proper technique for some of the exercises, so I started hunting. I stumbled upon an article about compound exercises on skinnybulkup.com, which led me to stronglifts.com. It sounded intriguing, and I couldn’t find anything wrong with the theory, so I put in my email address, downloaded the report/instructions, and started reading.

Some of the writing sounded a bit “As Seen On TV!”, which initially made me detect a whiff of snake oil, but as the author is from Belgium I cut him some slack; his English is far better than my Flemish (or German, or French). Besides, anyone casually throwing around the word “bullshit” in his writing is unlikely to be a salesman.

The gist is this: three workouts per week, three exercises per workout, fives sets of five reps per exercise (one set for deadlifts). The kicker is that you start the program with an empty 45 lb. barbell. The next time you do the same exercise, you add 5 lbs. (total, not per side). The other main point is that you do squats in every workout: three times per week, adding 5 lbs. each time. I HATE squats, but they really are the most effective compound exercise you can do; they work nearly every muscle if you do them right.

After reading through most of it (skipping the overabundance of testimonials and before/after pics), and still finding no sales pitch, I decided to bite the bullet. It sure beat what I was doing, which was nothing.

Because technique is so heavily stressed, I decided to wait until 10pm Monday to hit the gym, so I could practice getting everything right without hogging the power rack. It went pretty well, though I was concentrating so hard on getting everything right, I forgot to put weight on the bar for the barbell rows (one of the two exercises that start with more than an empty bar). Jumping from 45 lbs. to 70 lbs. next time I do them will be interesting.

Tonight was the second workout, which also went well, but let me tell you this: NOTHING will test your ability to ignore what others are doing, or what they might think of you, like lifting an empty barbell for five sets.

There was a short blonde kid working out next to me, in a “U of M Medical School” hoodie and “US Naval Academy” shorts. Tight, muscular body; very intense; had “future officer” written all over him. He’s doing barbell chin-ups, then crunches, then one-armed rows, then running over to do lat pulldowns, then repeating the whole cycle at least five times.

Meanwhile, I’m standing there with my barbell, a 2.5 lb. (yes, I said two-and-a-half) plate on each side, doing squats, then taking those OFF to do overhead presses. I feel like a complete schmuck, while Mr. Type-A is engaged in warrior training not five feet away. Still, I gritted my teeth, focused on doing everything right, and kept my eyes off of him while doing my sets.

I console myself with the fact that, if all goes well, I’ll be squatting more than my own body weight by the middle of April.

Feb 192010

In lieu of an actual post of any substance, since I can’t seem to wake up this morning, here’s a drug commercial I stumbled across while trying to explain the My Little Cthulhu toy on my desk to a coworker.

Here’s hoping the coffee and Concerta will eventually jumpstart my exercise-depleted brain. Jump-squats, lunges, and treadmill sprints are evil, evil things. This morning I dreamed I was in the underground of some unknown city/country. All of the various neighborhoods/cities were connected, not by subways, but by high-speed moving sidewalks.

Treadmills. I was dreaming about treadmills. >:-|

Feb 162010

The Trainer (and I feel it’s important that this be capitalized) did not reduce me to blurred vision, gasping, and acid reflux as he did last Thursday. Not that it wasn’t intense, but this was an upper body workout which, unlike a legs/core routine, typically doesn’t transform one into this:

It consisted of two rounds of deadlift presses, lateral dumbell raises (where 1.5 reps actually equaled 1 rep), walking the treadmill with my hands while in a pushup position (both directions), doing a 1-minute plank with my elbows balanced on a Bosu, and walking across the room and back holding a 12 lb. medicine ball straight up in the air with one hand, dipping it down to my shoulder and back up at the halfway point. It looks easy.

It lies.

I’ve been given dietary instructions for the rest of the week, before we take all my baseline measurements on Saturday morning: no processed sugar, minimal sodium, and *shudder* NO ALCOHOL. On top of that, I can’t drink anything at all after 9pm on Friday night.

Well, I guess that makes me the designated driver for the Great Guinness Toast birthday party we’re attending Friday night. :-/

On the plus side, Paul The Trainer told me to make up for it on Saturday, just in time for our friend Andy’s Mardi Gras party. Rest assured, I will devour King Cake and Hurricanes like the People of Walmart turned loose at the Old Country Buffet.

Dec 162009

16 oz. water
2.5 scoops of soy protein powder
1 banana (for insulin spike)
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp Splenda
4-6 ice cubes

Add water, protein powder, cocoa powder, and Splenda to blender.
Break up banana and add to blender.
Add ice cubes..to…
Lecture husband about leaving all the ice cube trays empty when he used them last.
Refill ice trays. Grumbling optional.
Put lid on blender and start on low power.
Noticing lack of movement inside, switch to medium power.
Detecting the smell of ozone from the struggling motor, stop the blender.
Add another 8 oz. of water.

Blend on high until mixture tries to escape its confines and roam the city. Should this occur, don’t worry: the first time it tries to find parking in Ann Arbor, it will return gratefully to the blender.

Pour contents into large cup, and peer cautiously over the rim until the bubbling subsides. Carefully take an experimental sip to check if the level of "icky" exceeds the drinkability threshold.

Pleasantly surprised that this concoction doesn’t suck as badly as expected, pour the chocolate-banana-soy cement mix down your throat, congratulate yourself on your dedication to the art of lifting heavy things, and try not to think about how you long to order a pizza.

Posted via email from Nerdimus Prime

Aug 132008

Because I got no sleep Sunday night, I skipped the gym on Monday. To catch up, I’ve done two hard workouts in the last 12 hours: lower body yesterday afternoon around 4:30, and upper body this morning at about 5:30.

Every part of my body feels shaky and I’m having a slight problem walking a straight line. It hardly seems fair that I’m exhibiting signs of drunkenness without getting to enjoy the alcohol.

roadster_guy and I cruised Woodward last night to check out the cars and pre-Dream Cruise activity, which is in full swing. Mercifully we’ll be in Toronto this weekend so we won’t have put up with the actual event.

When we got down to Ferndale we found that Maria’s is still closed for renovation, so we went up the street to Anita’s Kitchen, a Lebanese restaurant facing Woodward with a large outdoor patio. The food was outstanding; a great replacement for La Shish since they shut down. The pita bread wasn’t as good as La Shish’s, but everything else more than made up for it. I hadn’t been that stuffed in weeks.

When we got home I set my phone to syncing, finished up some work stuff, got my clothes packed and ready for the gym, then went to bed before the Olympic coverage kicked back into “All Phelps, All The Time”.

I am sick of hearing about him. Yes, he’s the most accomplished swimmer in Olympic history, so far, and I’m not knocking his ability. But his level of overexposure has surpassed Rachel Ray’s and is approaching Paris Hilton’s. You’d think there were no other American athletes in Beijing at the moment, to listen to the coverage: “Some of these other guys won a medal in some event earlier, but now let’s talk to Michael Phelps’s third grade substitute teacher!”

They should be talking to his dentist.

Jun 252008

For the third time I actually got my ass out of bed and to the gym early enough to work out, shower, change, and be to work by 7am. This despite forgetting to reset and turn on the alarm for 4:45. Luckily(?), Aaron was in "snore like a wood saw" mode all night, and one of the five times I was woken up was at 5:10am: just barely enough time to get up and out by skipping my stretches.

This is all well and good so far, but I'm usually good at starting new projects; it's finishing them that becomes an issue. We'll see. About two weeks in is where I start to get lazy about planning and preparing food, making bad choices when we go out, etc.

I've weighed myself all three mornings so far before showering, and the gym scale has read 1 lb. less each morning (197-196-195), even though I'm eating all damn day. Our scale at home needs to be tossed, because it randomly adds or subtracts up to 5 lbs each time you get on it.

I've decided not to set any complicated goals, like a certain number of inches gained for each muscle measurement. Instead I'm keeping it basic:

– Add 10 lbs. of muscle.
– Drop 4% body fat (from 14% to 10%).
– Comfortably wear nearly any pair of size 32 pants I pull off a store shelf (since they vary so much between manufacturer).

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